Is there a hole in sky?  Art mesmerizes the Food Farm!

Kathy McTavish and Zeitgeist musicians took over two windowless rooms of the Food Farm root cellar on a beautiful last day of winter in Wrenshall, MN (3/19/16).  Twenty five or so visitors were fortunate to see this event.

The Food Farm, run and owned by Janaki Fisher-Merritt and Annie Dugan (director of the Duluth Art Institute), hosted the one day event by Duluth artist and environmentalist Kathy McTavish and frequent sound collaborators Zeitgeist.

The exhibition, Hole in the Sky, took over the Food Farm’s new root cellar building with moving images floor to ceiling and live found sounds by Zeitgeist by using and contacting the various textures of the metal walls and farm equipment.  Everything inside was cleaned up for the show with the exception of some carrot stacks and potatoes in a container that luckily shared in the event.

We more and more communicate with each other privately via small digital devices.  McTavish scales this up to human size and large, projecting time-related images, overlapping on the walls, floors and ceilings.  Textured metal building walls worked to vary and distort the images to great effect.
It could be we have little or no time to slow down possibly irreversible human impacts happening to the earth.  The exhibition makes time explicit with a digital counting by the second for the duration, repeated counts from one to nine, walking images from the walker’s waist viewpoint, overlaid with computer generated imagery.

At first the viewer may be mesmerized by the abstract beauty of the moving colors, images and digits.  Zeitgeist’s contribution of sound, often created by tapping on various parts of the building and equipment, and using some of their own instruments, created a “digital” sounding accompaniment.  Spend enough time with a clue on the subject of the exhibit and a viewer can start to contemplate time, though may not know what action to take.  It is amazing how fast the seconds go by that are counted by the digital timer.

The exhibition is successful in a new art way – new media, satisfying to witness.  But if we are to think about a hole in the sky (ozone layer or stand-in for any of a myriad of environmental issues?), does it succeed in conveying that message?  It is a given that traditional environmental doom warnings may fall on deaf ears if always communicated in the same language.  Ultimately, as with most contemporary art, the viewer needs to meet the artist part way.  If one does this, McTavish is successful with both a visually interesting exhibition and one that keeps a viewer thinking afterword.

I encourage you to go see any future exhibits by this artist. 

Happy Equinox!
Alex Karsnick

MN Artists